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Mystery Cache

Why Don't Woodpeckers Have Brain Damage?

A cache by redwingrr Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 2/6/2010
In Wisconsin, United States
4 out of 5
3.5 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:



Seven nearby caches honoring Woodpeckers each contain a number needed to determine the coordinates of this cache: N43 W088 yy.yyy

A+B+C =    D+E+F+G = yy.yyy

NKM Hairy Woodpecker will provide number A
NKM Red-bellied Woodpecker will provide no. B
NKM Pileated Woodpecker will provide no. C
NKM Downy Woodpecker will provide no. D
NKM Yellow-bellied Sapsucker will provide no. E
NKM Red-headed Woodpecker will provide no. F
NKM Northern Flicker will provide no. G

Bookmark for the series at right.  A 9th cache in this beautiful area is also included.  Bring a pen & paper to write down the numbers!

This series is located in the Northern Kettle Moraine (NKM) State Forest.  It's hilly and beautiful in every season and the caches are winter-friendly.  The Ice Age Trail (a National & State designated Scenic Trail) and bridle/snowmobile trails form a sort of figure eight in this section so you can do the entire series without moving your car.  You will get some exercise!  I'd guess it's about a 4 mile walk all together (unless you bushwack!?) - in very scenic and serene surroundings.  If 4 mi is too much, divide it into 2 trips.  Roadside parking available N, W and sometimes S.  Watch and listen for woodpeckers and their work.  Post some pics!  A map showing the trails in the NKM is available from the WI DNR here: DNR Trail Map  Trails are used year round but you'll need to make some off-trail excursions!

For the shortest trip to the final, finish at NKM Northern Flicker.  I suggest doing the caches in the order listed above. 

Why Don't Woodpeckers Have Brain Damage?
Help me post images in the gallery showing Woodpeckers' handiwork in the NKM. 
It's been estimated that Woodpeckers hit their beaks against trees at speeds of 16 miles per hour at rates of 20 times per second with forces as high as 1200 times the force of gravity.  So, why don't they suffer brain damage?  Here's what I found:

A. The bones of the woodpeckers' skull are extremely spongy and help absorb shock.
B. Their brains are tiny & fairly smooth providing a large surface area upon which to spread the force, decreasing the pressure.
C. They peck in a straight line, introducing no torque or twisting which would wreak havoc on brain tissues.
D. The beak is attached to the skull by powerful muscles that cushion the blows.
E. The tongue muscles extend to the back of the skull, around the head, and insert into the back of the beak, creating a sling which may also help absorb shock from the beak.
F. The brain is packed tightly into the skull.
G. Other factors???

A+B+C+D+E+F+G = No brain damage!

"Neuroscience for Kids Newsletter", Volume 3, Issue 5 (May, 1999)
“Cure for a Headache,” a study by UC Davis ophthalmology professor Ivan Schwab published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology in 2002
May et al. Woodpecker drilling behavior. Arch. Neurol. 36:370-373, 1979.
May et al. Woodpeckers and head injury. Lancet 1:454-455, 1976.

The Geocache Notification Form for this cache has been submitted to Jerry Leiterman of the Wisconsin DNR.  Geocaches placed on DNR managed lands require permission by means of a notification form.  The form and further info can be obtained at

Congratulations to FullStrut for FTF!!!

Additional Hints (No hints available.)



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Last Updated: on 7/16/2017 2:45:39 PM Pacific Daylight Time (9:45 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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